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The Ending Of Netflix's Jung_E Explained

"Train to Busan" and "Hellbound" director Yeon Sang-ho has returned with a new Korean dystopian sci-fi film for Netflix, "Jung_E," that delivers slow-building drama and stellar action. The film takes viewers into a futuristic world where climate change makes Earth uninhabitable, forcing space shelters to form in order to keep humanity alive. Unfortunately, war breaks out after a rebellious faction known as the Adrian Republic starts attacking other colonies. With the Allied Forces looking for an edge, a talented research team is tasked with using the brain data of a legendary mercenary named Yun Jung-yi (Kim Hyun-joo) to create a combat AI soldier codenamed Jung_E. However, when Jung_E struggles to pass simulations, the team — led by Jung-yi's adult daughter Seo-hyun (Kang Soo-yeon) — is faced with tough decisions that cause Seo-hyun to have personal revelations. 

Within its first few moments, "Jung_E" showcases some strong sci-fi action that proves Jung-yi's skill as a fighter. Her physical prowess and combat abilities make for some epic moments, and Yeon's direction is incredibly slick. However, it's Seo-hyun's personal story that stands out the most, showing how she grapples with the past. In some ways, Seo-hyun is granted a unique opportunity to see her mother again, and her lingering feelings from their final interaction create blurred lines of reality. Between all the action and personal arcs involved, it's safe to say that a lot happens at the end of "Jung-E."

Holding onto the past

The idea of creating a humanoid AI soldier with the brain of a deceased human is already a strange concept that distorts reality in chilling ways. For Seo-hyun, though, there are more personal stakes involved, since the combat AI in question is based on her mother, who died decades before. Just seeing the AI wearing her face easily brings back a lot of unresolved feelings, but this personal connection also motivates Seo-hyun in interesting ways. 

Although Jung-yi was once seen as a war hero, her legacy diminished as the war continued. Because of her failures in her final mission, many don't view her as positively anymore, with some even blaming her for the war still going on. Because of this, Seo-hyun sees the combat AI project as an opportunity to restore her mother's legacy and have her seen as a hero once again. Plus, having her back allows Seo-hyun to recall memories of her mother, eventually leading her to confront some remaining feelings at the end of her arc. While it would be weird for most to see an android version of their mother, it's a cathartic experience for Seo-hyun that allows her to close some old wounds. 

A tech-driven world

The unique futuristic world of "Jung_E" has a lot of pivotal tech innovations that not only influence the plot, but also help build out the wider world. The process of collecting someone's brain data has become a key part of living beyond the death of the human body, to the point where anyone with enough money can live for quite a while. Even Seo-hyun is given the opportunity to transfer her brain data into a prosthetic body to live life as an android when she's told that her cancer has spread. However, it comes at a cost even greater than just money. 

As explained to Seo-hyun, there are three tiers of mechanical bodies that people can use, but only one that makes users really feel free. Those willing to pay for the highest tier can purchase their freedom and be granted the same rights as humans. The other two tiers are vastly cheaper but come at the cost of your identity, as government and commercial agencies can have access to your brain data. Essentially, you get to live forever at the cost of true autonomy. After seeing what happens with Jung-yi, you might find that option so appealing. 

Frankly, even living on as an android doesn't sound pleasant, as they're clearly viewed as lesser. There's even an "ethics test" that has to be taken to differentiate androids and humans, so there are very few places for non-humans to hide. The android-filled world of "Jung_E" definitely has its creepier elements, which strip away the more glamorous aspects of living forever. 

Continued failure

Even though Jung_E is shown to be an immensely skilled fighter at the start, she struggles to get past a particular point in the simulation of the mission that previously killed her. Just like her human counterpart, Jung_E starts the battle off by destroying robots twice the size of her and proving how formidable she is even when outnumbered. However, as the dust seemingly settles, Jung_E becomes distracted by something and gets flanked after being suddenly shot. From there, she's declared a failure, and the simulation ends. 

For most of the film, it's unclear why Jung_E continuously fails in this exact spot and what's exactly distracting her. There's clearly some kind of small statue she has that catches her eye in the moment, but its significance isn't made clear at first. It's later revealed that there's another part of Jung_E's brain that becomes more active in this moment, but it isn't understood by any scientist. It later becomes clear that this part of the brain is connected to a more emotional part of Jung_E's thinking, playing a role in why she fails every time. 

A very significant soldier

Although the Jung_E project has constant failures since the AI can't get past the final simulation, there's still a lot of hope for its success. Aside from the obvious war still going on, Jung_E represents something much more than just a talented soldier being put back out into the field. Jung-yi was once a legendary war figure who was highly regarded in the public eye, to the point that she even had her own action figure. 

However, as mentioned before, her final failure to stop the war tarnished her reputation, and the AI project acts as a sort of redemption for her legacy. If the program succeeds, it could restore people's admiration for a national hero and boost morale — a key part of any war effort. More importantly, the program's success would mean that the Allied Forces could create an army of their best soldier. Jung_E is a top-priority project for the Allied Forces since there are a lot of potential benefits that could turn the tide of the war. But in the end, she proves to be far more than a mere weapon in the conflict that killed her.

Sudden ends

Just as Seo-hyun starts to feel more connected to her mother again through Jung_E, she gets some upsetting news that pretty much comes out of nowhere. On her way to talk with the chairman of Kronoid Laboratory (Lee Dong-hee), the AI institute in charge of the Jung_E project, she becomes surprised by his presence. He sort of shows up out of the blue and delivers the unfortunate news that the Jung_E program is being shut down. 

Along with the program constantly hitting roadblocks because of failures, the ongoing war is coming to an end, and the need for combat AI production is no longer there. With Kronoid no longer needing to help the war effort, they're refocusing their tech towards developing AI to help with household services and common struggles. While it's arguably a more noble effort by the company, it also means that Seo-hyun's time with her mother would come to an end, and that her reputation would never be saved. It's a reveal that clearly has a strong effect on Seo-hyun, and her frustration is only made worse when she sees what they're planning to do with the remaining Jung_E androids. 

A robot in disguise

Director Kim (Ryu Kyung-soo), the eccentric leader of the Jung_E program team, shows a lot of emotion throughout the development of Jung_E. He's not afraid to show his frustrations or dish out some untimely jokes, making it a little intimidating to talk to him. It's especially unnerving when Kim brings up the ethics test to Seo-hyun, as he definitely views the androids as less than people. This is made clear when he tortures a Jung_E android to get a desired result. All this and more is what makes the surprise reveal of Kim being an AI droid himself a total shocker. 

As he and Seo-hyun are set to meet with the chairman, he suddenly freezes, and it becomes clear that he's more machine than man. The chairman confirms that Kim is indeed an AI, but goes even further to say that his brain data is actually a copy of his own from a younger time. This kind of explains why Kim is so eccentric and determined, since he embodies the mind of the chairman when he was constantly looking for a breakthrough. It's also kind of creepy since Kim doesn't even realize that he's an android. Kim's true identity helps the film dig further into how androids are viewed, and he also presents an extra level of dimension to the role of the chairman. 

Not so pleasant plans

After Kronoid decides that they're no longer going to keep the Jung_E program going, Seo-hyun is obviously distraught. She becomes even more mortified at the discovery of their plans for the other Jung_E droids. Seo-hyun decides to visit one of the scientists in her group after she sees that he has one of the Jung_E droids, and she discovers that he's been secretly tasked with reprogramming the Jung_E model for sex work. With the idea of these combat AI robots being gone, it seems that Kronoid is trying to find other uses and take advantage of Jung-yi's fame. 

It's obviously a gut-wrenching moment for Seo-hyun, as she's seeing her mother's image be turned into something she likely never would have wanted, all in the pursuit of corporate profits. However, it's also a sad reveal for the world at large. Anyone who sells their brain data for the lowest tier option likely suffers a similar fate, allowing their identity to become a commercialized tool. With this knowledge, Seo-hyun crafts her own plan and finally confronts some unresolved issues she's been trying to hide from for years. 

The root of the problem

For most of the film, you're left wondering why Jung_E keeps failing the simulation at the exact same moment. The answer finally becomes clear when Seo-hyun is able to talk with a Jung_E android about that moment and what goes through her mind during it. This leads to some flashbacks to the day that Jung-yi left, revealing that a young Seo-hyun gave her a small toy to keep with her when she did. Every time Jung_E gets to the final moment of her simulation, she's seen looking at the doll and thinking of her daughter back home. 

Rather than it feeling like Jung_E is blaming Seo-hyun for her failures, this is a heartfelt reminder of how much Seo-hyun meant to her mother, and it leaves Seo-hyun devastated. She, of course, is deeply moved by her mother showing how much she truly loves her, bringing her to tears. This moment also explains what the other part of Jung_E's brain is that Kim color-coded as yellow, since it's likely connected to her past memories of Seo-hyun. With Seo-hyun now having the answers she's been seeking, she finds new motivation to put a stop to her mother's legacy being slandered and commercialized. 

The truth sets her free

As Kim and the team run one last test on Jung_E in the simulation, it seems like everything is going normally. Jung_E destroys every robot in her path until she ultimately fails at the same point she always does. Kim basically takes this as a killing blow to the project and leaves in defeat. That is, until he thinks about what he saw and quickly rushes back to the lab to check the security tapes. While it might seem like Jung_E got shot like usual, she actually dodges the bullet as if she knew it was coming. Of course, that's because she did. 

Before entering the simulation, Seo-hyun talks with Jung_E. She discloses the truth of who she is, but she also warns her about the shot that's coming. With this knowledge, Jung_E simply fakes getting shot to fool the scientists and put herself in a position to escape. It's the start of Seo-hyun's plan to free her mother from Kronoid, and it acts as a great little twist that kicks off the thrilling and action-packed finale. Having finally stuck it to their corporate overlords, Jung_E and Seo-hyun go on the run. 


Seo-hyun's plan goes much deeper than just tricking Kim and the others at Kronoid Laboratory. It actually involves Jung_E doing a little body-swapping. Just after saving Jung_E from the deadly grasp of another combat AI, Seo-hyun has a brief moment with her to figure out what they're going to do. At first, it seems like they ran out of time since the other security bots come in and seemingly shoot Jung_E to death, leaving Seo-hyun to be escorted out of the room by a robot. However, there's much more to this moment than it seems. 

When one of the security bots looks at the surveillance footage, it sees that Seo-hyun did a little brain surgery by swapping Jung_E's brain into another robot. Thus, the robot taking Seo-hyun out of the room is actually Jung_E, and the two are able to reach a nearby train to start leaving the facility. It's a clever move from Seo-hyun that actually works in giving them a viable escape route, but they quickly learn that they're far from freedom. 

One last battle

Although Jung_E and Seo-hyun think that they've escaped from Kronoid Laboratory, they get the unpleasant surprise of Kim being on the same train that they board. This kicks off a visually stunning and heartbreaking final sequence. From Kim realizing that he's a robot after seeing some of the damage he's suffered to Jung_E being put into a never-ending fight for survival, the final sequence of "Jung_E" features all the heart-pounding action and wild moments that anyone could ask for. 

Unfortunately, Seo-hyun suffers a fatal wound after Kim shoots her, and it leads to a tearful goodbye between her and Jung_E. Given how much Seo-hyun wanted to see Jung_E be set free and her mother's legacy restored to its former glory, it's sad to see her go right before the credits. However, the film does end on a more hopeful note. The final scene shows Jung_E on top of a mountain, looking out into the world after finally having escaped. It's tough to say whether or not she can really live a fulfilling life given how mistreated androids are in this world, but she'll easily have the physical prowess and freedom to take on anyone who tries to control her. After Jung-yi lost her chance at a regular life thanks to the brutality of humanity's ongoing wars, it's nice to see her reincarnated self get a real chance at a fresh start. Of course, it would have been better if her daughter had made it out with her, but the tragedy is what makes the film's ending so powerfully bittersweet.

Could there be more for Jung_E's story?

At the moment, there's no planned sequel for "Jung_E," but that doesn't mean the story has to stop here. The ending certainly leaves room for Jung_E's story to be continued with her now being able to explore the world freely. Her perspective as a robot in this world could show a different side to some of the lore in the film and provide a tenser atmosphere given how there are people out there who don't view robots as equals. 

if there were to be a follow-up, it might fit better as a series than a film. That would let some of the action play out longer and give the story and world more time to develop. Netflix's reputation of rarely doing sequels to their films, let alone letting some of their series go past the first season, likely means that this is the end for "Jung_E." But with it temporarily becoming the number one movie streaming on Netflix, maybe there's a chance for more to come in the future.